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More Than Stars: The Milky Way’s Dust Mapped In 3D For The First Time Ever

“But the Milky Way is more than just stars, it’s also full of gas, plasma, and – most importantly – light-blocking dust. This dust indicates where clumped neutral atoms are, reddening the stars behind it, but not in front of it. Where the dust is coolest and densest, future stars will someday form. Preferentially blocking bluer light, this dust distorts our view of any background objects.”

Wherever we look in the night sky, we don’t just observe the background sources of light shining our way, but also the effects of all the matter in between those distant sources and our eyes. Since all of that inbound light needs to pass through a portion of the Milky Way on its way to our eyes, it’s vital that we understand how that light is distorted by our own galaxy. That means we need an understanding of the dust in our own neighborhood. In the past, that meant using a variety of models, but for the first time, a 3D map of the Milky Way’s dust has been constructed. This will not only allow for a better calibration of distant objects – such as galaxies, supernovae and anything we’d use to measure dark energy – but it uncovers some surprises about the fundamental nature of dust itself.

Come read, and see, the spectacular story of this unprecedented cosmic map in pictures, videos and no more than 200 words on today’s Mostly Mute Monday!

what is it with this day and white people pissing me off lmao. this mayo jar asked if i had watched iron fist and i said i did and i didnt like it, plus they shouldve cast an asian lead. and he was like “but the girl is asian” and i. i deadass laughed at him and i just smiled at him until he turned away like um? dont speak over asian people about asian representation, aka smthn we barely even get in western media. you could argue about an asian lead going against source material but lets be absolutely real here, no white character’s story is tied to their race. if youre gonna argue that its “hard to find someone who fits the role” well then thats just fool talk theres tons of buff asian men that could’ve been chosen (ludi lin, harry shum jr, fucking jackie chan for fucks sake). having one (1) asian character in a show isnt going to solve our lack of representation, and its definitely not going to stop my bitterness. dont speak over us when it comes to this issue thanks